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Cowboys game ball: Nobody wins one, Jerry Jones won’t discuss coaching change at this time

The Cowboys have to decide which direction they are going to go.

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

If this seems like a replay, it’s because it is. The Dallas Cowboys once again take a talented roster and a gaudy record with gaudy statistics into the post-season, and lay a giant egg. Losing a winnable playoff game at home to the San Francisco 49ers 23-17. Instead of legitimate contenders they turned into the Keystone Cops. Mistake after mistake, head-scratching call after head-scratching call, baffling execution followed by baffling execution. The Cowboys did it to the fanbase again. For this reason, no game ball, but a look at what comes next.

Now, stock will be taken and decisions will be made. The decision that will be forced on them immediately is with their coaching staff. Kellen Moore and/or Dan Quinn could have one foot out the door. The Cowboys must decide if they want to keep one, and would that come at the expense of head coach Mike McCarthy? It seems impossible to think Dallas could change coaches after a 12-5 season, but McCarthy led his team into a game that was so poorly played, you have to wonder about leadership. How could the Cowboys come out so flat, execute so poorly, and most importantly make ridiculous penalty after ridiculous penalty, all the way up to the end of the game?

Mike McCarthy has to answer for that. It might not cost him his job, but it certainly leaves an uneasy feeling that his better days are getting behind him.

But it’s wrong to pick on McCarthy without picking on others. Dak Prescott did not have the kind of game he would have liked, and that the fanbase would have liked. He was being hurried often and took some punishment, but there were times when he had opportunities and missed the throw. More than once. When a team can only put up 17 points, questions have to be asked of the quarterback.

Then there is Kellen Moore, the criminal underuse of Tony Pollard is inexcusable. The Cowboys tried to feed Ezekiel Elliott and he had 13 touches while Pollard managed just six. The Cowboys want to run the ball, but they rarely give it to their most explosive player in that regard. Why?

And what was with the call of the QB Keeper at the end of the game? It was so risky to try and run that type of play there, and if you are going to run it every one needs to know exactly what to do. Prescott ran for too long. Then he and Tyler Biadasz couldn’t get settled with the ball forcing the referee to waste even more time trying to get lined up for a spike. It was a calamity. The Cowboys looked amateurish at the end. Any Cowboys fans would have taken two or three long throws from Dak to the out of bounds area or to the end zone over that. Better an interception than that ending.

The Cowboys were undisciplined and they paid for it. Four first downs by penalty for the 49ers, gifts from the Cowboys. 14 penalties for 89 yards, including key ones late against Neville Gallimore and Randy Gregory that really hurt the team. On offense the Cowboys killed first downs and big plays with penalties. Some of them just from not focusing or being lazy getting into position. Infuriating.

This team has disappointed once again. No sugar-coating this loss and the Cowboys are at a crossroads. Do they basically just run this back with the exception of free agents who leave and possibly one of their coordinators? Or do they do something more radical, and blow it up a little in hopes of becoming a legitimate contender?

This will be a rough offseason.